13699Re: Nathaniel Banks [east vs west]
- Aug 31, 2002Apologies to those who feel we are getting off topic, but the issue is
what Banks did or didn't learn from 1862 to 1864
-as far as the disposition of troops in 1862, the fact is that the
Union made the classic military mistake in VA of splitting up into
small groups that could be defeated independently. I don't care if
group A was northwest or southeast of group B, the fact is they were
all in the same general area and could have been combined. Banks,
however, bore no responsibility for that mistake, but did fail to
realize the impact on himself.
-What happened to Banks vs Jackson in a nutshell: Banks was pushing up
[going south] the Shenandoah valley with great ambition to press the
left flank of the overall CS defence of Richmond. Jackson used cavalry
to screen the fact that he was stealing a march, using the mountains
also as a screen, and came in on Banks' rear. Now it is true that
Banks reacted in time, but barely so, and WAS ADVISED TO HAVE DONE SO
MUCH EARLIER BY HIS MILITARY AIDE; Banks foolishly refused to admit
the mortal danger he had put his army in till it was almost too late,
narrowly avoided disaster, and trailing elements in the rush north
took a beating. As David notes, this impacted his later stand, and he
wound up getting routed, leaving Virginia altogether behind the
Potomac River in Maryland.
-In the Red River Campaign, I can't say that I would be the guy to
really explain all that happened there, but to interpret the federal
Victory at Pleasant Hill as an opportunity to rally and defeat the
Rebs just ignores the fact that the Yanks were stunned, suffering one
defeat, and viewing the P.H. victory as more of a "here we narrowly
avoided disaster." Taylor criticized his own generalship, comparing
himself to someone in a chess match who cannot envision the changed
board after the moves have been made. Hopefully someone was around to
point out that he had accomplished a lot without the 3 to 1 advantage
usually advised for someone undertaking an attack; the Yanks had
gotten a bloody nose they hadn't anticipated, were in an irreversible
state of collapsed morale, and couldn't get out of the area fast
enough. Shreveport was out of danger and Banks' last grand ambition,
the Genius that scared Napolean [ok, the third] with his invasion of
Texas, was gone for good.
-So was his military career. I believe the rest of his career was
spent in Congress.
--- In civilwarwest@y..., David Kowalski <kywddavid@y...> wrote:
> Several points about Banks generalship.
> First, Jackson fought Shields at Kernstown well before
> he met up with Banks. Fremont was, as you noted,
> called in after Winchester. Jackson's position at
> Conrad's Store was south and east of Banks. Jackson
> marched and counter-marched eventually going west
> before he hit Banks by going north. Jackson's army
> was positioned for much of the time to stand between
> the federal forces and Richmond.
> Second, Federal forces were split up. The garrison at
> Front Royal was separated from Banks and pushed out.
> It was in a militarily indefensible spot.
> Third, Banks did "win" the race to Winchester, This
> was because he abandoned his position at Strasburg and
> started first. However Jackson pushed him fast enough
> that he occupied the lower hill nearer town rather
> than the higher one that commanded the position.
> Jackson's men marched most of the night.
> Fourth, Jackson aimed to catch a good portion of Banks
> army and supplies. He netted over 3,000 prisoners and
> $125,000 in supplies. The medical supplies were vital
> for the CONFEDERATE war effort.
> Banks and the remnants of his army were not a factor
> during the rest of the Valley campaign.
> One well known aim of Banks forces at Port Hudson was
> to capture the city in time to help Grant at
> Vicksburg. Vicksburg fell first.
> Banks was placed between a rock and a hard place in
> the Valley. However, a post-Kernstown junction with
> Shields might have done the trick.
> Lee's Lieutenants turns a hard, unusually critical eye
> on Jackson's performance in the Valley campaign.
> Jackson's use of artillery, some of his tactics, and
> the performance of the cavalry come for criticism.
> Banks, however, comes through as a general with some
> ambition and initiative who placed his men poorly on
> the battlefield, moved his supply trains in a
> spread-out manner, and failed to get much fight except
> out of his artillery.
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